Trends in learning analytics practices: a review of higher education institutions

Billy Tak-Ming Wong (University Research Centre, The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Kam Cheong Li (University Research Centre, The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Samuel Ping-Man Choi (Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration,The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 18 June 2018



This paper aims to review and identify the major patterns and trends in learning analytics practices in higher education institutions. The review covers the characteristics of the institutions, as well as the characteristics and outcomes of the learning analytics practices.


This research collected literature published in 2011-2016 which reported learning analytics practices from Scopus and Google Scholar, covering a total of 47 institutions, and categorised the information about the relevant institutions and practices.


The results show that most of the institutions were public ones in the USA and the UK of various sizes and offering different levels of study. The learning analytics practices were mainly institution-wide, apart from a small number focusing on selected courses. The purposes of the practices were mainly to enhance the effectiveness of learning support and administration, followed by facilitating students’ learning progress. The most common types of data collected for the practices were students’ academic behaviours and their background information. Positive outcomes were reported for a majority of the practices, and the most frequent ones being an increase in cost-effectiveness and understanding of students’ learning behaviours. Other outcomes included the improvement of student retention, timely feedback and intervention, support for informed decision-making and the provision of personalised assistance to students.


The results provide an overview of the use of learning analytics in the higher education sector. They also reveal the trends in learning analytics practices, as well as future research directions.



Wong, B., Li, K. and Choi, S. (2018), "Trends in learning analytics practices: a review of higher education institutions", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 132-154.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.